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5G is being rolled out now including a new radio access interface called 5G New Radio, or 5G NR. Other radio access technologies include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 4G LTE. 5G NR will enable communication of edge devices over the air using two frequency bands.
The frequency bands that 5G NR uses to communicate are shared with other technologies like LTE, LTE-M and NB-IoT. The ability to share frequency bands with other technologies is new and is made possible using Dynamic Spectrum Sharing. 5G NR also allows transmissions in the “sub-6 spectrum”. Previously there were limitations in the capacity of transmissions in the sub-6 spectrum frequencies, but 5G NR opens up more spectrum in that area, and it is able to do it with low latency, which should improve the experience of applications like virtual and augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, and gaming.
One opportunity that 5G NR also opens up is the ability to connect from the ground to 5G-capable satellites. Lluc Palerm, Northern Sky Research analyst, told eeTimes that “that’s going to be very big, in the sense that it’s going to open a huge additional market for the satellite industry.” This will open up interesting applications in the areas of agriculture, energy, and transportation. It also can fill gaps in existing cellular access where currently only 85 percent of the world’s population live in areas with cellular coverage.
Dimitris Mavrakis, ABI Research senior research director, said that “there are several challenges to make this happen. There are system and data sovereignty issues to be considered for a satellite operation. Data sovereignty will obviously be a huge concern for a network that sends data to and from space.”